KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) has lost his appeal to reverse a decision by the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board which fined him for misconduct in his professional capacity.
High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Zaleha Yusof held that the court should not interfere with the decision of the Bar Council.
“I agree with the respondent (Bar Council) that the article did contain laudatory remarks and statements about the appellant (Muhammad Shafee) and his firm which was beyond the scope or approved information allowed by the Legal Profession (Publicity) Rules 2001.
“I think what matters here is what was the opinion of the Bar Council as provided or by Rule 15 (1)(b),” she said in her ruling.
Under Rule 15 (1) (b) of the Rules 2001, any lawyer who has consented to be interviewed by the media should not be seen by the council as attempting to publicise his practice or his firm in a manner inconsistent with these Rules.
Justice Zaleha said she read the article on Muhammad Shafee and found that the words “top lawyer” and “high-profile lawyer” were that of the reporter and not of him (Muhammad Shafee).
“I dismiss this appeal with no order as to costs,” she said.
Justice Zaleha ordered his co-counsel Sarah Abisegham to make a formal application when she applied for a stay pending appeal.
The board had on Oct 5, 2012 fined Muhammad Shafee RM5,000 following a complaint by then-Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan on Sept 23, 2010 that he had breached Section 94(3) (k) of the Legal Profession Act.
The complaint was based on an interview given by Muhammad Shafee in two articles that appeared in The Star on Sept 27, 2009.
The board had affirmed the findings of the Disciplinary Committee that Muhammad Shafee had publicised himself and his firm of solicitors in a manner that infringed the Legal Profession Publicity Rules 2001, Legal Profession Practice and Etiquette Rules 1978 and Rules & Rulings of the Bar Council 2007.
He had on Nov 1, 2012 paid the fine to the Discipline Fund without prejudice to his rights to appeal and without admitting liability.
He filed the application on Nov 16, 2012 to set aside the board’s decision and to be refunded on grounds that it had erred in law and fact.